Our Favourite F’s: Fall and Food!
For some reason, whenever Fall comes around, I find myself spending lots of time in the kitchen. Whether it is practicing my cooking skills before Thanksgiving or making any type of treat that has the ingredient pumpkin in it, something about the season gets us in a baking mood!
Let’s start off with a side dish we are definitely going to try:
Brussel Spouts with Ham and Leeks
2 pounds of brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons of olive oil
½ cup diced dry-cured country ham
1 large leek, halved lengthwise, rinsed and thinly sliced crosswise
½ tsp of salt
¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp cider vinegar
Bring a heavy pot half full of lightly salted water to boiling over high heat. Add sprouts and cook for 5-6 mins until crisp-tender. Drain.
Return pot to heat and reduce heat to medium-high. Add olive oil, ham, leek, salt and pepper. Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes until leeks are just tender. Add sprouts, cook and stir for 2 more minutes or until heated through. Drizzle with juice and vinegar, toss to coat. Transfer to a serving dish and pour any juices in pant over sprouts before serving.
Let’s now move onto a main course option. We are thinking a delectable Autumn Beef Stew (this was a great find!).
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 pounds boneless beef chuck trimmed of fat (1 ½ in chunks)
2 strips of bacon cut in ¼ inch strips
2 onions cut into ½ inch wedges
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tbsps tomato paste
5 cups chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
1 ½ cups dry red wine
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp snipped fresh thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 pound of potatoes cut into 2 inch chunks
1 pound butternut swuash, cut into 1 ½ inch chunks
4 carrots cut into 1 inch chunks
2 stalks celery, sliced into ½ inch pieces
¼ cup chopped parsley
In a large plastic bag, combine flour, salt and pepper. Add beef; shake to coat evenly. In a Dutch oven or large heavy pot, cook and stir bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels with a slotted spoon. Add enough oil to bacon drippings to equal 2 tablespoons. Add half the beef to pot, shaking off any excess flour. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Remove beef with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining beef.
If pot is dry, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add onions; cook and stir for about 4 minutes or until starting to brown. Stir in garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste. Return beef, bacon and any remaining flour to pot. Stir to combine. Add chicken and beef broth, wine, bay leaves, thyme and paprika. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender, stirring occasionally.
Add potatoes, squash, carrots and celery. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove lid and simmer about 15 minutes more or until vegetables are tender and liquid is desired consistency. Remove bay leaves. Stir in parsley.
Time for dessert! Let’s go with a pumpkin-banana bread.
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cooking oil
3 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ ground ginger
2/3 cup water
1 15 oz can pumpkin
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and 1/2-inch up the sides of two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans; set aside. In a very large mixing bowl beat sugar and oil with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; set sugar mixture aside.
In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and ginger. Alternately add flour mixture and the water to the sugar mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Beat in pumpkin and banana. Stir in pecans. Spoon batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks. If you like, wrap and store overnight before slicing. Makes 2 loaves (32 slices).
There are a lot more great festive fall recipes at http://www.midwestliving.com/ so take a look and let us know which ones you try!